High frequency limiting in mastering

    • February 3, 2023 at 8:24 pm #4703

        Hi Bob, thanks for creating this space for audio engineers! I had a question about high frequency limiting in mastering. Pete Lymon from infrasonic sound says he pushes his top end EQ boost into a high frequency limiter to get a more “open” sound. I believe Lurssen mastering house does this as well. Can you explain how this works or what settings one might try in a mastering context with something like a Maselec MPL2 or an Etec DBTL20? Is this something that is useful on the majority of songs these days?

        Thank you 🙏🏻

        • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Marshal.
      • February 3, 2023 at 11:17 pm #4715
        Bob Katz

          Hi, Marshal. Welcome. This technique is very common. I don’t like to say “On the majority of songs”. It’s just something I may do when the material might benefit.

          It doesn’t have to be a limiter. It can be the high frequency band of a three or multi band compressor. The principle is simple as you outlined: a subtle high frequency boost can open up the sound during soft and medium level passages, but can sound harsh on peaks. So if you soften the high frequency peaks you may be able to have your cake and eat it, too.

          Just don’t overdo it. It’s very tempting 🙂

          I have the wonderful Maselec MPL-2 but ironically I haven’t used its HF limiter very much because for this type of functionality, softening to reduce harshness, I find the high band of a more gentle 3 band Compressor to work better for me.

          And when it works great for you, you may get that pleasureful feedback from your client: “I don’t know how you did it, Bob. You made it both warm and clear at the same time!”

          You asked for “settings”. As A VERY GENERAL GUIDE” I would say with a gentle 3 band compressor, something above 5 to 8 kHz and on loud passages no more than maybe 1 dB GR or the process will call attention to itself.

          I used to use the Weiss DS-1 for this function. I had three of them. And so I could use one of them dedicated to this function. Today the softube Weiss can do a nice job.  These days the Maselec MLA-4 does a nice job for me. The speed of the MPL-2 is so fast it’s more for softening quick high frequency instruments like cymbal hits or tambourines than for more sustained sounds.

          That’s it in a nutshell.

          • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Bob Katz.
          • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Bob Katz.
        • February 4, 2023 at 3:42 am #4724
          Benoit D.

            I’m doing it pretty much everyday with EQ + Gyraf G21. G23 (S mode) or Maselec MEA-2 hi-shelves to open the mix, than Gyraf G21 to hold hurting high frequencies back. I think static EQ to boost followed by dynamic EQ to control is the best way to go here.

          • February 4, 2023 at 8:45 am #4728

              Thank you both so much for the excellent answers!

            • March 12, 2023 at 10:36 pm #5475
              TiKkO Rome

                <p style=”text-align: left;”>Interesting. I’ve often been fond of shelf boosting some point beyond 10kHz and de-essing in the range of roughly 4kHz to 12kHz (all source dependant settings obviously) but honestly hadn’t considered driving up highs into a limiter. There’s a “cut, boost, cut,  boost, cut, boost” technique a colleague put me up on awhile back that’s really helped open up the sound when it’s called for and I sometimes like to use a HF comp (like the Fusion offers) then boost what I want back in after.</p>

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